BOOK BLOG: David Long

Egypt Magnified: the perfect book for any Egypt loving bookworm! 

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“Grab your magnifying glass and explore the sights and sounds of ancient Egypt in this fascinating search-and-find adventure, packed with over 200 things to spot.”

When I was approached by the publishers as to whether I would like a copy of this book for review, I knew instantly that I would ABSOLUTELY LIKE A COPY FOR REVIEW. I am constantly on the lookout for engaging and brilliant non-fiction books. We all know that non-fiction books of the past could be dull and just collect dust… but recently non-fiction books are becoming more and more desirable. And this book does not disappoint! This would make the perfect Christmas gift for any non-fiction loving wannabe historian in your life! 

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Egypt Magnified comes with a brilliant magnifying glass so you can play a “Where’s Wally?” type game in the book. With sections covering everything from The Nile and The Desert to Tutankhamun’s Tomb, this book is just brilliant. (Why yes, I did in fact take about half an hour of my time when this arrived to play with the magnifying glass… unfortunately, I never was any good at Where’s Wally!)

With gorgeous illustrations by Harry Bloom and JAM PACKED with facts, this book is educational and fun – a perfect mix! I learned a fair few things when I gave this book a read… and I’ve taught the Egyptians before! Each page is about a different topic, and along the top is the “10 things to spot” section. The pages are filled with information, illustration and intrigue! 

I can’t recommend this book enough – to parents, teachers, librarians and ANYONE ELSE. It has such a brilliant place in homes, schools and libraries. I can’t wait to pass it on to Year 4 for when they study the Egypians – I just know it’s going to go down SO well. (So well in fact, I’m jealous that they get to have it! If there could be a Greek edition, that’d be awesome!)

What period in history would you most like to delve deeper into?
What’s your favourite type of non-fiction book?
Can you recommend me any new non-fiction books?

A massive massive thank you to the publishers over at Quarto for sending me this absolute delight! 

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Shakespeare Stories

Are you looking for a gorgeously illustrated simplified version of Shakespeare plays to use in the classroom? LOOK NO FURTHER.

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A Stage Full of Shakespeare Stories is a beautiful collection of 12 of Shakespeare’s most popular plays in a new book, perfect for 7 years+. Having had the chance to read through this already, I would say it is PERFECT for Key Stage 2 classes to use when studying a Shakespeare unit. 

The 12 plays featured are:

  • Macbeth
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Hamlet
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Tempest
  • Twelth Night
  • Othello
  • As You Like It
  • Julius Caesar
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • King Lear
  • The Merchant of Venice

Now I know Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth are really popular in schools (I’m teaching Macbeth this year to my Y5s… taught it last year and I just adored it so definitely doing it again!) but this book highlights some of the other wonderful plays that Shakespeare wrote. It’s certainly made me think that there’s less obvious choices out there that are worth studying! 

Each story comes with a double spread title page with one of the famous quotes from that play on one side and the title on the other (as below): 

I ADORE each of the title pages for the plays – they’re all so intricately designed and they’re stunning to look at. It would be interesting to use the title pages to see what the children could guess about each play. 

You then get a cast of characters and then the play. Each play is 3-5 pages long, again beautifully illustrated and perfectly readable. 

If you hadn’t guessed already, I ABSOLUTELY adore this book. It’s such an incredible resource to use in the classroom. I can’t wait to use my copy with my kids when we do Macbeth. I was even told by one of the teachers at school that she saw it on my twitter and went and purchased it because she was so curious! 

If my review isn’t enough to pull you in… just look at those end papers… you could play Shakespeare’s Where’s Wally? with them!

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A massive massive thank you to the lovely humans of Quarto for sending me this book. It is going to be a staple in my classroom! It’s out now if you want to purchase it! 

Waterstones online

Amazon

What’s your favourite Shakespeare play?
Do you remember studying Shakespeare at school?
Can you name any of the characters in the Where’s Wally pages?

Let me know your thoughts on this. Comment, send me a letter over the sea, stand at my balcony and tell me! I hope you love it cause I LOVE IT. 

S x

BLOG TOUR: My Colourful Chameleon

My Colourful Chameleon: fun and perfect for little people!

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” A funny, rhyming story about a girl who keeps losing her beloved yet troublesome pet chameleon. It’s not her fault though, changing colour is what chameleons do best! Mum is angry at the disappearing critter, and the girl must convince her that the pet can stay. Can she find away of keeping track of her troublesome pet? This colourful and amusing rhyming tale is perfect for introducing children to the responsibilities involved with pet ownership, as well as learning about different colours”

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This book is full of joy and mischief, featuring a little girl and her pet chameleon who always seems to be going missing. Whether he’s in the wool, hiding by the taps or fitting in with the bedding – he’s always going missing! This makes Mum really cross and the little girl gets sad and cross too… she doesn’t want to keep losing her pet! She just wants him to stay visible. She doesn’t want Mum or Dad to take her pet away! 

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This book has a brilliant rhythm to it and it has an excellent use of rhyme. There’s some really fun bits in the story and having to try and find the chameleon is lovely. The kids at school really loved trying to find the chameleon and then talking about reasons why a chameleon might hide! Some brilliant links to Science! 

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The illustrations in this book are excellent. They’re really vibrant. The kids at school really loved seeing the chameleon change into lots of different colours and were amazed that this was actually a real thing!

Thank you so much Leonie for inviting me onto the blog tour, and to Quarto for sending me a copy! It is well loved in school! 

Would you like a pet chameleon?
What colour would you like to turn if you were to be a chameleon?
If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be and why?

Talk to me! I’d love to hear some weird and wonderful suggestions for pets!

 S xx

Best of 2017: picture books edition

Hello! So far this week you’ve been treated to my favourite blog posts, MG books and YA books… today is no different, today is my favourite picture books of 2017. 

Now there are SO many books that could’ve been in with a shot, so many amazing books I read in 2017. I’ve tried to stick to books released this yearI hope none have slipped under the radar. 

I must point out now that The Building Boy by Ross Montgomery and David Litchfield would DEFINITELY be on this list, alas it was published in 2016. But go out and buy it, because it’s incredible. 

So anyway… let’s go!

picxture books 2017Just as with the rest of my round ups, they aren’t in any real order, and I will share the links to my reviews (if they are yet to be reviewed, there is a review to come!)

Words and Your Heart – Kate Jane Neal
BOOKBLOG: Kate Jane Neal
I used this book in school to coincide with anti-bullying week and it’s all about the power that our words have. It’s one of those books that makes an impact on you STRAIGHT away. We used it in Reception, Year 2 and Year 6, with all children responding incredibly to it. 

Balthazar the Great – Kirsten Sims
(review to come)
There’s a reason I don’t have a review for this yet… because I can’t put into words how much I loved it. Balthazar is the most brilliant bear. I can’t wait to share my review with you all in the new year! It’s brilliant (the book that is, my review might not quite live up to that!).

Kevin – Rob Biddulph
(review to come)
Another one of those brilliant books. This is one of those books that all kids will love. Plus Kevin is the absolute cutest thing in the world. The gorgeous people at the publishers sent me this book and I was SO happy when it came in the post! Rob Biddulph is a complete winner for me every single time.

Here We Are – Oliver Jeffers
BOOKBLOG: Oliver Jeffers
There is no denying that Oliver Jeffers is the absolute king of picture books. I reckon I own ALL of his picture books, and for me there’s not enough. Here We Are is absolutely incredible: it’s powerful with a brilliant message to deliver too. I definitely did not (I did) cry when I read it. Please get this for your kids, or yourselfyou deserve a treat.

Grandad’s Secret Giant – David Litchfield
BOOKBLOG: David Litchfield
David Litchfield is hands down my favourite illustrator (his collaborations with Ross Montgomery in particular are some of my favourites… see Christmas Dinner of Souls and The Building Boy) and this is his first of 2 mentions on my list. Grandad’s Secret Giant was an instant winner at school: the story is beautiful and poignant. I absolutely adored it.

Superbat – Matt Carr
BOOKBLOG: Matt Carr
My twiglets actually won this book in a competition and I read it to them one day when I was with them. Since then I have bought myself a copy! It’s just brilliant. My twiglets (who are both 6) loved this so much and there’s some amazing illustrations in the book! Poppy even made an amazing bat joke afterwards… check out the blog post to find out more!

Franklin’s Flying Bookshop – Jen Campbell
(review to come)
I only recently bought this (see: the end of November) and finally got round to reading it to myself the other day, but MAN what a book. I absolutely loved the story and the illustrations. I am still processing my thoughts, give me a week to pull myself together!

The Grotlyn – Benji Davies
(review to come)
The Grotlyn was one of those books that I had seen so many of my twitter friends talk about, so when I was offered the chance to receive this book from the publisher I jumped at the chance. Man, what a book. It’s brilliant. Benji Davies is a master at what he does. This book is just excellent

Look For Ladybird in Plant City – Katherina Manolessou
Look for Ladybird
Again, the lovely publishers over at Quarto Books sent me a copy of this and I gladly accepted. I read it to the kids at school and they loved it –  the fact it was a “search and find” book had them on side instantly. They loved looking for all of the bits and bobs and then the ladybird too. I then took it to my twiglets, who LOVED it. It kept them engaged while their mam and I had a cup of coffee, and that’s saying something! 

When I Grow Up – Tim Minchin and Steve Antony
When I Grow Up blog tour 
I was exceptionally lucky to be invited on to the blog tor for this book, where Steve Antony, he illustrator, shared some exclusive sneak into some of the original sketches. You all know how much I adore Matilda, so for me, this was an incredible opportunity. This is the book of one of the songs from Matilda the Musical. I recommend everyone, every single one of you, buys this book. It’s wonderful.

The Marvellous Moon Map – Teresa Heapy and David Litchfield 
(review to come)
This is one of the loveliest books I’ve read this year. It’s an adorable tale of going on an adventure, following your dreams! The illustrations (courtesy of David Litchfield) are just wonderful, adding an additional level to a brilliant story. 

You Choose In Space – Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart
BOOKBLOG: Sharratt/Goodhart
This isn’t TECHNICALLY a picture book, I’m not quite sure what the You Choose books are classed as, but it is too good to miss out. These books always go down a storm and I was very lucky to get a copy! These books are brilliant for talk, but also incredible fun. I’ve known a group of adults crowd around these books and discuss the ins and outs of choices! 

And there you go… my favourite picture books of 2017. There are many, many others I could’ve included! 

Which books would you have on your list?
Have you read any of my choices?
Which is your favourite of my choices?

Talk to me! Tweet me! Email me! Send a pigeon! 

S x

Perfect Presents: Miscellaneous edition

Hello there!

I hope you’re enjoying my “Perfect Presents” series – it has been so much fun recommending books for everyone this year! I AM that person that buys EVERYONE a book. I have strong feelings about books and let’s just say that I think a book is the perfect present, so yeah… that! 

Today’s edition of Perfect Presents features a whole array of things, most of which could be classed as non-fiction. As a prolific fiction reader, it has been great for me to think about some non-fiction recommendations for everyone! From the kids in your life, to the teens, and the adults! Let’s get on with it!

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I can’t recommend some non-fiction without recommending this. I love Sarah Millican. I am a proud Geordie. I love an autobiography. This book is definitely on my Top Books of 2017 list – it’s just wonderful. Your mam will probably love it. Your sister probably will too. You’ll probably catch your dad reading it and laughing, despite protests that he wouldn’t read it. It’ll make you laugh, maybe cry (it made me cry): it’s just lush. 

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The next recommendations come from a set of books from the brilliant people of Quarto Books. Their ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ series is an exploration of some of the most incredible women the world has seen. These books give a biography of the women in a beautifully illustrated and accessible way for kids. I was lucky enough to be send 2 of these from Quarto and I adore them. If you can get your hands on them, get your hands on them. I can’t recommend these enough.

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Another incredible book, filled with exceptional stories about brilliant women that I can not recommend enough. Now that there is a second one too, I must get my hands on that! I did have a copy of Rebel Girls 1, but I can’t find it… so I must get back to Waterstones and purchase 1 and 2. 

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I love Dinosaurium – I see it everywhere on twitter and I reckon it would be a brilliant present for any of the dinosaur obsessed children in your life. There’s been a whole host of exceptional non-fiction books released this year that I don’t think you could go wrong with any of it! 

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This book is brilliant. At 28, it was incredible to read and learn things from this book. Hannah Witton so brilliantly deals with everything from consent, to sexuality, to sex in this book. It would be a great present to buy a teenager in your life, but also… adults. No shame in reading books which explore sexuality and aim to educate. I read this for a book group and I really enjoyed it. 

There are SO SO SO many others I can recommend that I will happily talk to you and give you recommendations! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my Perfect Presents series! Let me know if you have any recommendations which aren’t on my lists. Also, let me know if you buy anything for anyone in your life based on my recommendations – that’s always fun!

Merry Christmas! Happy book buying!

S x

Little People, Big Dreams

In the Little People, Big Dreams series, you can discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. There are some incredible lives pictured in this series and I was very lucky that the people at Quarto sent me over the Audrey Hepburn, Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst editions to have a look at. I had initially saw these beautiful books on BookBairn’s instagram and was VERY curious about them!

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Each book tells the story of the life of this amazing person. They are beautifully illustrated and are PERFECT to use with children. At the back of each edition there is a timeline of the person’s life, with real pictures!

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Books like this are so important as they make incredible life stories accessible to children. 

The Rosa Parks edition and the Emmeline Pankhurst book are going to be so brilliant for use in school to teach the children about amazing women who paved the way for some of the most important changes in the world. 

I am so happy this series exists and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series! I know this is definitely a series that I will have in my collection! They’re perfect for the classroom and any little people you may have running around! I will be sharing these with the kids at school and my goddaughters, to teach them about important women who have come before them! 

If you’d like to see who else is included in this series so far, the whole collection is on the Quarto website – click here to find out more. I definitely want the ones I don’t have yet! 

Have you read any of the ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ books?
Are there any incredible women you would like to see included?
What is your “big dream”?

Thank you so much to Quarto for sending me these books. I absolutely love them! 

S x

Look for Ladybird

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A recent trend in books is ‘search and find’ books and ‘Look for Ladybird in Plant City’ is a brilliant example of these gorgeous books. 

Look for Ladybird tells the story of Basil and Daisy who are looking for Ladybird in Plant City. This book is a brilliant fusion of story and search and find! Basil and Daisy are a rabbit and a lizard who have lost their friend Ladybird! The story takes you through the entire city and you get to see all of the other animals who live in Plant City and what they all get up to. My particular favourite page is The Museum page! There are incredible things to spot on every page though! 

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The thing that struck me about this book is the incredibly vibrant illustrations. You flick through the book and are met with beautifully illustrated pages one after another. Going through the story you meet amazing new characters and have to use incredible search powers to find the things in the story! (Some of them even passed me by!) Another brilliant thing about this book is there’s an answers page at the back! Brilliant for those who like to “bend the rules” and those who like to make sure they’re right! I know the answers page would go down well if kids worked in pairs to find the things: one could search and one could check.

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The things you have to look for in this story are the things which are in capital letters throughout the text – this is a lovely way to point out what needs to be sought. 

Thank you to the lovely people of Quarto for sending me this book! It will go down very well at school! I certainly love it! 

S x

 

BOOKBLOG: Craig Shuttleworth

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“Compare town and country scenes full of clever little details in this beautiful new Turnaround Book – spot buses, trains, and skyscrapers in the town and tractors, mountains, and farm animals in the country. Open the book one way to explore the town scene and then flip the book over to delve into the country landscape. What can you see that’s the same in both scenes? What can you spot that’s different?

With a mini glossary for each picture – featuring tiny pictures picked out from the main scene – Town and Country is completely absorbing for children who are just starting to engage with simple written words. For younger children, this is a great read-together title – pick an item on the glossary panel, then try to find it in the big picture – an excellent introduction to looking carefully and naming objects.”

The gorgeous people over at Quarto sent me this brilliant book recently and I can’t wait to share it with the kids at school. I’ve already shared it with the little girl who lives next door and she absolutely loved looking for all of the things that were listed! 

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As you can see in the picture above there’s TWO lots of things to look for! This would be a perfect book for my twiglets! They wouldn’t have to share the same page, they could look at things for their page and then just turn the book round to look for new things! I love that this book could be used for extending the vocabulary of your littles! It would be perfect in an EYFS setting – the kids would have such a brilliant time looking for the things and then talking about the objects they’re looking for. 

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There are so many gorgeous pages in this book. This one is a country jobs page! Again this would be great for extending vocabulary! Perfect for the little inquisitive people we have in the world! Check out the Quarto website for more details!

I can’t wait to share this with the little people in my life. I remember being younger and loving these “look and find” type books – ‘Where’s Wally?‘ used to be my absolute nemesis. Town and Country is a much friendlier version of books like Where’s Wally?! The pages aren’t filled with hundreds of things! 

Were you a fan of “look and find” books?
Which were your favourites?
Were you any good at ‘Where’s Wally?’

Let me know in the comments… share your favourites with me – I won’t be any good at them but it’s good for the brain! 

S x